Poland: 30th anniversary of Solidarnosc

The celebrations of the 30th anniversary of Solidarity take place against the background of attacks and an unprecedented media campaign against today’s trade unions and workers.

The so-called "historical leaders" of "Solidarity" – especially those who today are connected with the ruling elites and the neo-liberal ruling party – are trying to convince us that August ’80 was not one of the largest workers’ protests ever, but was a "civic moevment” led by a handful of intellectuals fighting for "freedom". However, the striking workers in 1980 certainly were not fighting for capitalist "freedom" for a handful of rich people to exploit workers. The real heroes of 1980 – the shipyard workers, miners, railroad workers and thousands of others – are deprived of a voice today more than ever. 

Meanwhile, those who came to power on their backs would quite happily totally destroy the unions today, or – as in the case of President Bronislaw Komorowski – confine them to the role of an obedient tool of the government and employers. In order to kill the memory of Solidarity’s working-class roots, they even want to take away the union’s right to organize the anniversary celebration and put the organisation of the celebrations in the hands of the government – because "some workers" might disrupt the government’s party during this historic farce. 

1980 strike at Gdańsk Shipyard

The unions themselves, above all the bureaucratised "Solidarity", are not without fault here. Over the past 20 years they have retreated before the offensive of successive governments and capitalists, allowing the closure of workplaces, the destruction of thousands of jobs, and the erosion of workers’ rights, while simultaneously entering into alliances with parties such as Law and Justice – which is not as different from the Civic Platform as many would have us believe. 

It is time to get up off our knees and start to fight. Today the closed shipyards are falling into disrepair, the miners are told that their strikes will be deemed ’illegal’, young people are working on "junk" contracts, deprived of basic workers’ rights. Why did one of the largest uprisings of the working class in postwar Europe lead to such deplorable results and did it have to be so? See here an article offering a socialist explanaition to these questions.

[click here: to the article]

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August 2010